Listen to this devotional
This study can be done personally or with a friend. Check out the download section at the end of this study for offline and printable versions which include teacher’s notes.
Then Jesus went about a stone’s throw away from them. He kneeled down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take away this cup of suffering. But do what you want, not what I want.” 43 Then an angel from heaven appeared to him to strengthen him. 44 Being full of pain, Jesus prayed even harder. His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.
Luke 22:41-44 NCV
Jesus had the resilience to continually go back to God in prayer to face his feelings about the suffering he was about to experience. He did not give up, but kept fighting with God to get the faith to move forward.
- When you are full of pain or fear, do you quit, or do you pray even harder?
What is resilience?
Resilience is a God-given ability to bounce back – to continue to fight, despite obstacles or hardship that befall you.
Do you have resilience?
- How easily do you adapt to a change in plans or misfortune?
- Think of a time recently when you didn’t get something you wanted. How did you react? What would it look like to be adaptable and flexible in that situation?
I think that life is difficult. People have challenges. Family members get sick, people get older, you don’t always get the job or the promotion that you want. You have conflicts in your life. And really, life is about your resilience and your ability to go through your life and all of the ups and downs with a positive attitude.
– Hyman – CEO • Rent the Runway, A fashion and technology/logistics company that offers clothing and accessory rentals from over 500 designer brands for women via on-demand rentals and subscriptions
What is an area in your life in which you need a “comeback”? Think of an area you may have given up due to delays, discouragement, or obstacles. Some examples might be a relationship with a family member or friend, a spiritual goal, dating, or leadership.
First, some backstory…
Nehemiah is an incredible Biblical story of resilience. But before diving into the Scriptures, check out this video for a little backstory to better understand the risk Nehemiah took rebuilding Jerusalem’s walls.
Goals From God
So I came to Jerusalem and was there for three days.  Then I got up in the night, I and a few men with me. I did not tell anyone what my God was putting in my heart to do for Jerusalem, and there was no animal with me except the one on which I was riding [so as not to attract attention].
Nehemiah 2:11-12 AMP
God puts dreams in our hearts
To be resilient, you first have to identify what God has put on your heart to do.
To be resilient, you have to be flexible. It isn’t the best to inspect a wall in the dark, but Nehemiah did it to keep at his goal.
What has God put on your heart?
What has God put on your heart and mind to do with your life? What are you passionate about? What are you afraid of going after?
But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the people of Ashdod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry.  They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it.  Therefore I stationed some of the people behind the lowest points of the wall at the exposed places, posting them by families, with their swords, spears and bows.  After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, “Don’t be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your families, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes.”
Nehemiah 4:6-8,13-14 NIV
Don’t Be Afraid
Nehemiah commanded them, “Don’t be afraid!” Our fear will stop us from being resilient. Deal with your fear by praying with God.
Our Response Matters
When things come up and interrupt our life, how we respond matters. Do not to get discouraged or emotional. Be resilient.
What is happening in your life right now that is causing you to be afraid (school, family, dating relationships, etc.)?
Adapt Till Success
When all our enemies heard about this, all the surrounding nations were afraid and lost their self-confidence, because they realized that this work had been done with the help of our God.
Nehemiah 6:16 NIV
Resilience Wins Out
The fear actually flipped! Those who opposed Nehemiah became afraid. Because Nehemiah continued to adapt and stayed the course, it became clear that he had God on his side.
“With The Help Of Our God”
Nehemiah’s enemies were “self-confident,” meaning their confidence came from themselves. Nehemiah was “God-confident,” meaning his confidence came from knowing he was doing what God wanted. Ultimately, God-confidence won out. Where do you try to find confidence? In your own abilities, or in knowing you are doing what God wants and he will help you?
What needs to be different in how you view God to help you grow closer and develop resilience?
You may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.
Talk it through: How do you need God to help you become someone who continues moving forward?
Take action: What are you going to change with God to become resilient?
Walk through step by step what it would take to change. The leader should think through some of this ahead of time. Be as detailed as possible.
- What steps will this decision involve?
- When will you do them?
- Possible pitfalls?
- Who will you ask to help hold you accountable?
This section is meant to be done together over the next 1-2 weeks. Set up times to do some of these together or to do them separately and then talk about what you learned.
- Read together: Read the book of Nehemiah: look at how Nehemiah never gave up, even when circumstances or people made it difficult
- Watch together: Watch the movie “Rudy” to see how he stayed resilient towards his goal even when the odds were against him
- Do together: Use Spotify or Apple Music to make a “Resilience” playlist to inspire you to never give up and adapt to keep moving forward